Alastair Campbell vs. David Lammy: GQ meets a backbench rebel | GQ Politics | British GQ

so I'm per home yesterday and I get a phone call from GQ saying David Lemmons made this extraordinary speech in Parliament about the Windrush generation why don't we do him so that shows in its own little way that speeches and Parliament's no matter they absolutely matter I mean I try to do my speeches from a heart place right I try to not talk on things I know nothing about right so I'm pretty focused on the things that people associate with me and I guess I am very much in the you know I have a faith I'm in the kind of slide God faith a God faith I am in a sort of you know slightly evangelical okay tradition which is why I don't it's that they're reading notes it comes from somewhere okay and then the next day you have these extraordinary speeches from Jonah Berger Ruth Smith and others in the anti-semitism debate and I was wondering when are we going to hear decent speeches in Parliament from either of the front benches what is going on our Parliament it is a parliament where the action is on the back benches but it's not about about is that because the crime I think it's I think that well two things the first thing is it's a bloody small majority right so this is a parliament in which back benches have a serious amount of power they have power on the conservative side clearly people I can ASSU burry who I would agree with sadly people like Jacobs Maurice mark on our side let's be clear that we yes we've got the Labour Party but within the Labour Party there are two differences of opinion and therefore people like Chris Leslie people like Shekhar Emunah Woodcock these people have have a have power and so there's action on the back benches but whatever you think about the front okay but so tell me when was the last after I've mentioned three speeches that I cans from recent days when was the last frontbench speech from either side that you heard and you thought Wow impressive I can't remember that's terrible it is in the sense that I have I know it's terrible but what it is is certainly I can think of in my period front bench speeches from Gordon Brown from Tony Blair William Hague from William Hague even that captured a particular moment – I can't front bitches have not been able to do that in recent times I mean have you ever felt the politics no politics is terrible politics is III never imagined that politics would be where it is what we are fractured divided extreme in places on both sides weakly led leadership is found in lots of different places then it's not just found in the sort of it's not in terribly hierarchical in some sense is actually that all the dust is up in the air and it hasn't settled basically as both the country and the political establishment and you know there are definitely days when I sort of think what why am I doing this this is this is this is taking its toll it's it's am I getting anywhere and actually some of the forces out there I would describe as almost evil I mean they're evil so we racist police bosses xenophobia racism a serious amount of malevolence well it's always that one coming from disease people say social media busily not social media it doesn't start with social media does it starts with a period of time in which a significant chunk of the country is left behind that is both a north-south divide it seems to me it is you never sat in one of the poorest part of the South in some ways I am but I recognize that if you're if you are in parts of rather um if you are in a seaside town if you're in place is very different taught me even though in London terms obviously I represent a very very tough poor seat many ways you are out of the story there is I think the story is about an asset class people who have nice houses in London who have relative wealth people who ask you know pretty well-educated when to russell group they've got a lot but quite a lot of people who are not in that story and then the other side of that is also the millennials even those people there may feel left behind but malevolence or evil as you call it most people aren't that no they're not not coming so you then put into the mix forces that seek to exploit those people over the last ten years so clearly since the economic downturn yeah there you know there's an old story which is the reason your your life is not what you thought it would be is because these people robbed you these people took your job the bankers I'm now talking about immigrants so but or both you can cut it both ways these people have it and you don't have it and clearly it seems to me from what I see and feel that social media drives Vangelis ventilates it and indeed it's clear that there are external forces in other countries like Russia who want to amplify that there I see my tweets sometimes amplified in order to sort of encourage this tribal war so you can't right-wing press they're the kind of domestic forces then you've got these other international forces pushing this kind of malevolence into our politics I think so and I think there's also a kind of really depressing supine liberal middle class who acquiesce yeah and put up with it and there are institutions of state big important ones like like the BBC yeah that do not appear to be as impartial as driven to establish a kind of impartial truth as you would have everything along you thinking in particular by braces on them I'm definitely thinking about brexit but I'm also thinking about an age in which you know race Wars celebrity salaciousness crash this crudeness one of those things was the BBC I would include the BBC in that cell that sells That's Entertainment so getting arrested yeah it's yeah it's the Trump Trump kind of world in which that that disease this is the business you were in has infected everything that's why I hate it but it's nothing I mean it's got worse and worse and worse and worse what about just on the leadership though would you would you say this is the worst government you've ever known competence wise and you know recent events notwithstanding even before that you know a little bit in humanity and what they do as well it's a government that seems to lack a serious amount of empathy and compassion it's a government that Surnow itself to be swallowed up entirely by one agenda so whatever you think about brexit now there are so many things in Britain that need fixing and needs sorting and I'm telling you now they're not being debated here they're not being discussed here there are no policy proposals so we're all they can do it all they can do is breakfast it and even brett's it particularly well so in that sense it's it's it's a broken it's a broken right but then you got her there Jeremy Corbyn opposite and you know is your neighbor EMP still a friend oh let's just establish first off I am a really crap tribal politician right I'm not won't be trying you're on fine I'm family really I I did not grow up delivering Labour Party leaflets joining the Students Union right that is not the tradition I am from I grew up poor black working class had to work damn hard to stay out of prison my dad left you my dad left problem with booze and other things you know I I was always labor hmm but I find it hard some of the wars that people have been fighting since they were since they worked since they were sort of kids all oh you know in the unions or whatever but so what I want to say is that my interaction with Jeremy called and there are a lot of people in the PLP who do not know Jeremy Corbyn I know Jeremy called because he's my neighbor I know Jeremy called me because he used to be a counsellor in the London borough of Haringey and my day-to-day contact with Jeremy Corbyn is why not he's pretty loved in his own constituency bloody good constituency MP someone that I'm also someone who works beyond you know we worked on a number of things together so easy still my friend yes he is he's still my friend we text each other we have you know you know we talk about theatre and things that you know way beyond politics he is still my friend yes and can you imagine him being Prime Minister Joe I think jeremy corbyn's going Prime Minister my take on this do you think yes and the people I've been saying that for a very long do you think it'd be good Prime Minister uncomfortable the idea that Jeremy calls me Prime Minister on behalf of my constituents yes alistair because my constituents want some socialism that's what they want will it work I don't know is the is the experience necessary to deliver change fully there across our front bench question marks but but I've said to you I want to play that game but but in terms of the agenda up for something different and also in terms of being prepared to say that the centerís project ran into the sand and ran out of ideas and felt quite shrill by the end I think I'm I'm very very up for saying that so you know in that sense when Jeremy says he thinks the center ground has moved I think there's some legitimacy in that and I think it's also you do a little bit more to defend and promote the record of government that you report oh I do think I think politically is daft yeah yeah I do think that all political parties are a coalition and if you want to be in government you want to go in with the biggest tent possible because the 10 strengths from day one his people I'm not exactly reaching out to build a bigger tent they're basically saved you don't love being inside this tent you can piss off that is the feeling people who are not in the tent get and that's no way to win an election you might say that I am going to avoid the kind of personality stuff unless policy is less policies well are we reaching out to the sort of people we're going to need your look you've got 82% of the share of the vote the last Olivia what about all these guys in marginals one of all these guys who should have won but didn't how who's gonna vote for them that didn't vote for the last time based on what we've seen from labour now well we did better in the error and that sure most of those peeps ever ducted except that most of those people predictable they don't have to do business well yes we are we are gonna have to do better so how's that gonna that's not for me to answer what I can tell you is this I've seen our party riven with internal war and civil war we came out of of of the brexit vote fighting to try and grief of people try and try and get rid of of Jeremy Corbyn I understand why that happened but I didn't participate in it what I did was I fought brexit from day one and I've avoided the party warfare staff and I'm not about to get into it okay it's not any issues to my constituents it's not really David Lammy I don't think it's what people expect from David Lammy we're talking about yourself in the third person I'm not quite gone bad but what I'm saying is I just I'm not I understand right okay but breaks it so bricks it you cannot be happy with the way the low part is Angela breaks it no no I miss Dyer no not look I think that you think is a disaster what we're seeing is a tyranny basically it's a tyranny that is bound to end in deep economic problems for many poor and working people across the country so why is the Labour Party not doing more to stand up against it yeah look I'm absolutely clear that I think the best thing for us to be is in Europe I think that the Labour Party has to be internationalist the Labour Party has also got to stand up to some of the forces behind Bret's it which I find to be racist and xenophobic yeah look I recognize however that I don't lead the Labour Party and that as I say that there at least you know after the brexit vote there were colleagues particularly in northern seats but also in places like Wales that voted to leach I think that positions changing I have to say I think people have recognized how much more changes if the labor front bench were pushing in that direction well yeah absolutely so he's our most left-wing leader ever and yet not to properly my view not properly opposing and incredibly right-wing agenda now yeah what breaks is going to be but again Alistair this is where you and I might be so different I have simply tried to stay on the issues I've been absolutely clear where I sit in the ground I voted against article 15 I've voted against party positions I watch party positions moved but I've not personalized it okay that's nice la bolita boring or relaxed Jeff okay I understand that but so let's I've been slightly different to some you know that's what I'm so I try not to be posting yeah but I think on the issue I feel it so strongly that my tribalism really is being tested on all sorts of things anti-semitism this and other things but when it comes to the deal would you feel as I feel that if the Labour Party facilitates what we already know is going to be a bad deal I'll be voting against it no but would you I don't know if I could stay in the party on that basis I have to consider that at the time but I felt a foreigner in my own party from day one what June 24th absolutely absolutely I felt very very lonely indeed because I said it was madness right from the beginning and still think it's madness could you ever imagine not being Labour you say you're not tribal but could you ever imagine not being labor I find it hard but I think that the Labour Party is the best vehicle for progressive change in our country however that does not make it a kind of ordained permanent feature necessarily of politics parties come and parties go in our history that can happen do you think if we carry on down this road with a hard broken Tory party and a let very left-wing Labour Party facilitating breaks it but it does open up I think the dust is gonna you know the story that well the rubber is going to hit the road in the autumn when we get a deal and I suspect it's going to be a crap has to be there's no other deal Lucas any negotiation I've been in if you're on your knees from day one deal ain't going to be very good right and at that point there will be a reckoning they'll be a reckoning for party but there'll be a very big reckoning for the government robbers you know I wrote this transition there's two year transition is just like a trap and the oh well we'll sort it out in the next two years and then we're out I don't know I think people are could probably see through that I think Europe can probably see maybe this thing to some extent I still think the rubbers going to hit the road in the autumn and at that point we will see where the later parts did you think there's a possibility that we might not leave I bloody hope there's a paucity there is like the right is very hard we don't leave do you know they induced you back because there is good do you think that and did you do you back the idea of the people's vote campaign absolutely again you know right from day one I felt there had to be some mechanism for a determination of the deal that we actually get and that seems to me either Parliament or it seemed or it's the people voting on that deal yeah so I'm very comfortable with that and let's just talk about the ugly anti-semitism have we got into a position where the left the party of the left in the UK is the party now identify with them to summit ISM how the hell has that happened I went across the road to the to the protest and joined Jewish friends that I've known for many years and I got over there and actually I was sort of filled I almost had to burst into tears because we were in this terrible terrible moment I sat in the Parliament recently for the for the debate around anti-semitism listening to people that lives on a burner ruse me unbelievable we are in this position clearly because there is a tradition that exists on parts of the hard left that is deeply deeply anti-semitic in attitude and background watch why I can't tell you why I'm not I'm not an expert on it I mean I get the thing about Israel well it's actually being anti-semitic I just do not understand it on any level well III only understand now you hear about every Labour Party meeting you hear about yeah well I understand it it's an ethnic minority I understand it as a series of stereotypes that are permanent that where people look at you and assume that you're lazy assume that you're thick assume that you're a womanizer and then you're out to steal their wife or something yeah all of these stereotypes I have lived with all of my life and in the same way there are a group of people who assume when you were Jewish do you a part of a wider conspiracy well but the racism you felt down the years as most black people have felt that over the most in the last few decades most Jewish people over the last few decades when you whine back to the war it's got a lot better rather than any worse so why is it come back it's come back because extremism has come back and anti-semitic tendencies exists largely on the hard right and the hard left of the political spectrum that's that's just what history tells us right why is why is our why is it happened on the watch off do you think that this leadership has tolerated and fostered it I think that there are moments in politics that require leadership that require indicating a change of mind a genuine sorry but then a series of actions and some of those actions are frankly and it's brutal turning on people who may have been friends chemicals definitely the number one out out months and months and months ago he's a friend he was what he was a friend of mine yeah but gone but that's what happened no and three these three hundred cases are they going to get it dealt with properly we don't know so I say about tolerating well fostering we we have lost a community that will I think will will not be coming back anytime soon I represent the Stamford Hill area of Lanza usually that's in my seat when Diane Abbott seat it's Stanford Hill is in two places you know it's across hiring going Hackney that normally be generally they both those people vote for me yeah you have and then of course of course there's deep trauma in Jewish communities in relation to they're not rich deep deep they're very poor community very poor community who need actually a good Labor government let's be clear about that but you know that the ball has run away from us and it will take serious serious leadership and let me just be absolutely clear those who suggested on line that I should be deselected for for joining projects with a minority group are out of their minds I will never ever stop standing with Jewish friends you know I have spent my whole political career standing with minorities there is a powerful tradition in this country in the United States where Martin Luther King marched with Jewish support relied on Jewish support for things like the n-double-a-cp and civil rights fights like Braun Brown versus education Nelson Mandela and the ANC many of those who were arrested in 1963 alongside alongside Mandela were Jewish and there is a tradition in this country I think of Stephen Lawrence and John centaur mu and Richard stone on that inquiry because of that powerful bond that we exist so the idea that people can tell me now in the labour party so I might be dis elected by outrage I agree but I saw an interview with Jeremy Corbyn where that point was raised and his answer was not a great offensive he basically said well if he's deselected it shouldn't be for that we saw let me feeling Oh what does he want to be selected for why does he deal with this desolation thing I think it's horrible to holdover MP's yeah the idea that you're gonna sort of turf them out I just you know let the electorate do that I just think then unless there's some really ugly part of the politics of the whole blasted yeah it is that's what it is it is and I but I love you and I'm not asking you to criticize Jeremy in your view a lot of those people if either come into the party and the ones are the real kind of real believe true believers are they really really focus more on powering the party or power in the country what really gets them going actually Alistair I think there are you know there's a lot of motivation particularly amongst those young members to change the country there is to deal with the terrible inequality I agree a lot to deal with running some of those folks were around before you know you know they they're older than me out with those folks I don't I don't where you going I know where you go with it you're not gonna go tell theirs let me bring you back to stuff that you you do want to talk about so if I if I take three issues that you've been very closely associated with in recent times Grenville where you really kind of expressed anger for people on that Windrush more recently and also Oxbridge and the lack of access for black kids but working-class kids yeah they're all about class only ultimately they are so what does that say about what sort of country and and also looking a bit sort of so critically it doesn't mean that we just ultimately we kind of did we didn't quite deliver the meritocratic Brenda we thought we couldn't would oh there's so much to do look at the heart of Granville is housing yeah the New Labour government that I was part of did not deliver really on housing and housing has sort of is now up there almost alongside education you know I'm thinking of constituents who almost are struggling to get an education because they've got nowhere to realize no where to work their their hand-to-mouth that in rent a rented accommodation it's a nightmare and for people to burn to death and for that too it you know a friend of mine lost their life in that fire I thought that was a huge moment where Britain had to sort of wake up to a reality and you do we have no no no I don't so there was an opportunity there was just a moment after that general election and then very quickly it turned to this kind of other ring people started to talk about but they're immigrants later call Kensington and Chelsea and all the rest of it so so I mean look I isn't almost a danger that these really big things happen my Windrush at the moment everybody gets very aerated about it and then we move on to the next bit there is but the Trump style in politics you made the connection which is class yeah which is which is the pernicious fact that what remains in our country is a reality of people positioned in a certain place and for me I say look we've lost a powerful sense of what is the good life what is a quality life and actually even when we do talk about class what we really say what we really want to talk about is social mobility we really want to say or the middle classes want to say we want some of you to come and join us it's not about how can you have a decent life if you are a cleaner if you are a dinner lady if you are a hospital porter what's the kind of quality of life what's the promise for you and your family I think we've lost sight of that and that runs across all the issues that's why it's an outrage an absolute scandal that the London boroughs of Richmond and Barnet send more people to Oxbridge then Leeds Sheffield Liverpool Manchester to do with being working even when kids do get the grades they don't go and when they do go they don't get in and then you're surprised that they don't apply and we've not dealt with that unless and it's not about an elite education because actually if you just go across the pond to Harvard and Yale why is why are they cracking it why are they got kids from Ohio and Arkansas why have they got that kids from Harlem and Watts why are they able to offer bursaries come for free if you're bright we want you to be here Oxford Cambridge not why are they we're not because we are too class bound because we are elitist and not elite that's the difference pull up the drawbridge from underneath you and actually worse than that allow middle-class people to buy their way to have this access and how do they do that they send their kids to public schools they pay their kids with tutors they move into certain areas and they elbow their way into this and the state is not active enough stopping that nonsense or at least ensuring that there's a fair equity for other folks and that's what you've got me now that's what animates me yeah yeah but it's going backwards do you feel it's going backwards yes yeah it's it's do you think do you think we took it forward do we do wheelies move in the right direction even if we didn't do enough on social mobility until in a time when the economy was expanding and there was tens successive quarters of growth we took it forward but we did not I don't think sufficiently looking con it makes efficient structural change yeah I think we bought way too much into the private sector particularly well that the top the structural changes that were need but needed between North and South the the engines of of growth that cannot solely be about the public sector actually it seems to me and some of the systemic ways in which you have to take on the establishment and be desperately unpopular I don't think we did enough of enhancing okay did you enjoy being a minister did you prefer being a backbencher did you enjoy be a minister I quite like outrage on you it wasn't me a passionate it's what I would say is this I and this I'm going to talk really honestly and really personally I think there are I think there are ton of black guys in this country black and brown people particularly men who aren't great having a drink after work don't always understand the wheels within wheels that exist in their workplace don't always get the breaks that they might have got and if they do get them can't always make the most of those opportunities and sometimes you can have the best conversation whether with a black mini cab driver who's so happy because he's running his little mini cab he has got to deal with the boss and the workplace and all the rest of it and there is definitely a part of David Lammy that's a bit like that I've said to you I'm not the best tribal politician what animates me is affecting change for people art I think I'm a pretty good campaigner but the sample Annette Morden well and I'm also not very good at licking ass you know in politics you have to lick a lot of backside hmm oh god you've got a above you you know you can tear up the prime minister or the leader or the minister personalising say early that's how politics works off and so so I mean I and I also think if you're a junior minister and doing a lot of grind and getting a lot of grind you know in some ways that's a that's a bit thankless yeah so basically you didn't enjoy it that much and you do like being I enjoyed making where is that I was responsible I was you know higher education wonderful yeah culture you know how all of the things I was responsible for I did enjoy but sometimes it was a crime I could always get that it was achieved but if I wasn't seeing it if I am I'm now I'm now much more seasoned I know how the thing works I know how to affect change my only less if Jeremy does become Prime Minister would you like to be in the cabinet senior minister whatever what I want to do is use the power I've got generally speaking in government you have to be on the front benches to make this happen yeah but you have to be pretty senior on the front benches to make things happen you know it's hard thankless work so if you're saying do I relish it I relish the ability to make people's lives better but I have three kids and a wife at home there's usually a sacrifices you know at that top level so let's see I don't have that today I've got balance in my life today okay and on the more you sort of your community and all these kind of not just in your community but you know you've another thing you've been very very outspoken on Islam kind of knife crime gang culture lots of trendy middle-class white people snorting loads of cocaine and not making the link to the blanket that's right so how big a problem how much of that kind of comes across your desk and again you know what the is going on we've got a serious problem you know I'm lucky enough to be able to get briefings from the top brass and what's going on I was with the National Crime Agency actually just this week understanding the realities of organized crime we have a problem with guns entering our country and those guns are finding their way into the hands of young foot soldiers and gang members in a constituency like mine so when you say organized crime and I think kind of mafia and you know these new computer crooks and all the rest of it you're talking about the running of drugs on the Strand I know I am talking about organized crime Aleister I'm sort of mean yes so I'm saying that one of the byproducts of being this globe and country that we are yeah is that we have big time crooks an organized criminal who are like the Mafia they are Eastern European based they are Middle East based Turkish East based and indeed we've got our own domestic organised criminals and those organized criminals are trafficking drugs and guns from across the world let's be absolutely clear I have young black 16 17 18 year-olds in Tottenham who are gang members they don't know where Colombia is they don't know the transshipment groups those drugs come into this country through our ports through our borders through lorries and other things organized they make their way much further down the chain to communities like mine and then these kids are running county lines out right across the country we have a massive drug problem it's an 11 billion pound market and you've not heard any politicians talking about it they are talking about historic sexual crimes they are talking about cyber crimes they are talking about counterterrorism those have been the priorities over the last while the war on drugs most people has been having have failed it's not been replaced by anything else it's been downgraded and as a consequence if you want to know my kids are dying on the streets that this is the consequence right and you said there's 11 billion pound market okay do you think it should become a market like any other do you think you actually shop you're just totally blown open so look let's legalize everything market eyes it and take make loads of tax on it this is the GQ interview there are definitely people watching who know a little bit okay who know that it is freely available on whatsapp groups and house parties when it was in little Pat I've never seen cocaine in my life really never ever ever seen it ever on telly well there's a revelation there's a revelation so so are you're telling me all over the place and actually to be fair it's also been to some extent you know if you're in a dinner party and knocking here well I don't know the police know where is it yeah if you're if you're if you're Gideon Osborne and you're at that dinner party you know you're not in the police are nowhere in sight you're not gonna get it right so in a sense it has almost been decriminalized for those communities but I put the white point absolutely yeah absolutely but if you're if you're white in sulphate or you're black in taught them and you're in your office around the highroad and you're certain you're going to get bloody criminal record you're gonna get banged up so the point is the war on drugs isn't happened that's okay we do need to have a proper debate about decriminalization we do we've got to be honest about it yeah Royal Wedding talking of class do you care your people care just talk and care what am i I actually look there are these anomalies and I'm I'm I'm kind of into the royalty I you know I think the Queen does a great job I do yeah I have said before that that is the apogee of our class system it is really it is I know and we all get excited about what is but I don't want to my I don't I don't want a president I don't want Trump I don't one I don't I'm pretty down on politicians anyway from Paris and I certainly like mega Michael Stoke but I I'm up for what is to come I can't wait to see Megan's family Robbie in Windsor for the wedding and you know a lot of my a lot of my constituents take a great joy because she could finally go happen we can finally have a royal of color my kids are a mixed-race heritage and they will see themselves reflected in the new royal family yeah that's good that's he mentioned Trump Trump in a word we don't look even more than a word I don't think I can say the word on camera I think he did the biggest he's the biggest narcissist on the planet right and that's dangerous when you get into one of those top jobs and you're you're single obsession is you you every single tweet comes back to him every single policy comes back to him when you've got lead former leaders the directors of the FBI talking almost like having it's like a mafia boss and it also comes back to the business this is deeply deeply corrosive and corrupt Putin is probably the best chess player in the world that is very very closer of that daddy on a global political level he is outmaneuvering many of us deeply worrying another sinister and narcissist by all accounts as well but clever and have to say when you line up the people who lead this country as against the likes of Putin and you talk about a deficit in leadership that's that's a big issue write us and if right and if Jeremy became Prime Minister if he becomes Prime Minister he's in his pocket already that's do you think he he didn't exactly handle the Russian poisoning and this Syria terribly well today I'm gonna stick to my policy envelope which is generally speaking prime education class some of the guys gonna be Prime Minister let's let's let's see what happens I've said I think people are at misogynist macron in the word I hope macron succeeds I hope I generally resist I hope he I hope sorry you really resist him a one-word thing yeah Theresa in a word week week frozen liking that humanity need for politics yeah so Nicola arrives an artist yes he is a nice Barrack Obama's head in hands yeah it's pretty impressive dramatic but he's got he is equally original well Nicola following the 2008 campaign she was on his you know let into the team that behind-the-scenes spent six months in and around with him and she produced a series of work this is one or seven Prince the Prince can be found at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington at the Met in New York and he has some of her collection and other people have it and I'm very lucky to have one of them in mind I'll be here and the other one in the Oval well I was with her when she showed him the work in the Oval Office and but when I look at that what I think of is this guy you know that's almost sort of sacrifice really and when when she when she first did this back in 2009 you know some people looked at it and it was slightly you know well when he saw it I ever survived you saved this he said and he you know he was quite emotional and he said you know I think it sums up me sort of slightly drowning that's what he said so what so you know things what you see in it yeah and that was at the end of the term I got a sense that he was pretty demoed having to leave office and that's how he saw it that's why it's great because you know you've said the sacrifice I've said but can you say what I mean about the east bank kind of athletic is balancing and he's actually comes from one of his speeches where he's you know he's obviously a great orator and he's holding the audience's you do you know a nice voice Donald Trump or Barack Obama Barack Obama look I am so so into Barack Obama he's such a gracious guy was he at Harvard when he was we were not at Harvard at the same time but I got to know him because he reached out to me when I was in government oh I see and him and a another good friend of mine devout Patrick he was the wanted to be the governor of Massachusetts black also we're just really interested what's government like and so we became friends and stayed in contact and the rest is is the rest is history really so that's how we got to know each other and we've you know we've remained very much in contact do you what is it about the Americans that I'm in this Trump sort of abusing him the whole time abusing Hillary the whole time abusing Bill the whole time they never answer back Obama never answers back well he's plains still playing by the rules yes the president who doesn't play but yeah I know but then you sort of you you just lower yourself down to that horrible common denominator and it all becomes incredibly grubby and nasty and horrible hmm and you know the general view is that former presidents have to rise above that you know Hillary doesn't fall into that category but but but for Bill and a nobama they have to sort of rise above now we don't want to grubbing around with with Trump yeah so finally mr. Lamie David Lammy as you call yourself yeah it's the Archbishop of Canterbury failed to persuade me that I should do God so just tell me about his God it's God lately yeah God for me is cultural you know it goes back to growing up poor growing up in a in a context of dislocation which was common for a lot of sort of second-generation black West Indian immigrants and God for me was somewhere with me you know he would get ready for church with look how smart we go we'd sing with strangers who then became friends I really love singing so much so that I became a kind of young Alif Jones and a cathedral chorus so I was very much a Billy Elliott figure it wasn't a tutu it was it was a dress and so for me that is deeply cultural I believe but do you believe the story of Jesus the archbishop told me that the thing it was all about believing the story of Jesus I do actually I'm uncomfortable with the story of Jesus this kid born a refugee in a basic clear sort of squalid little outhouse surrounded by crap and animals I'm comfortable with that tradition and also I'm really comfortable with the tradition that is for me about you know Martin Luther King and others I take a lot from that more seriously I don't underestimate you know to do the job that I have to do to speak up for the voiceless in Grenville to comfort those families as I as I have very recently who have lost children stabbed on the streets of London to call it as it is in the House of Commons to the Prime Minister on behalf of the wind rust generation who were being royally shafted frankly after all that they gave to this country to handle the corridors of power as a young Minister you know to walk into a room with civil servants who are all white they bring their own stereotypes about you and have expectations to you to deal with a set of journalists who also are all white all middle class they're not you to cope under that pressure to have a young family to get married all of that stuff I have had to rely on my faith I could not have done it without my faith I could not have done it without that tradition that is a broader kind of black diasporic tradition and in that sense you know partly when I say I'm not the tribal labour politicians that others have it's because I'm very proud to be able to lean in to other traditions African American West Indian Caribbean to hang with people like you know to learn from people like Kevin Macdonald Lenny Henry these kind of guys you know in that sense I'm I'm I you know that's where I'm from and my Christian faith is either part of that for me

Maurice Vega

22 Responses

  1. We need all over of toby blair's front bench back, contributing to public debate. They dont have to be in parliament but we need to remember what clear thinking and quality political leadership sounded like.

  2. I love these interviews. I think what Alastair Campbell is really doing here is mentoring the younger generation of politicians on both sides of the aisle. He's asking them tough questions and trying to push them to think better. Activists too. Lammy is clever enough to really engage with him and get what he's talking about. People like Owen Jones just got stroppy and wasted the opportunity presented here.

  3. The hard left has historically been anti-Semitic? I'm not sure what Lenin, Trotksy, Kamenev, Zinoviev, Stalin, Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Marx would have to say about that.

  4. He knows nothing. Has everyone forgotten about the illegal wars these pair were involved in creating on a pack of lies WMD that never existed. Why do we give these people a voice. Shame on you GQ

  5. Can you imagine getting out of bed in the morning, looking in the mirror and seeing that face, no wonder he is bitter all day, I think I would be Peed off also.

  6. David Lammy is such class individual. He's smart, funny, compassionate, honest and loaded with common sense. In contrast, when one looks at the mess Parliament is in, it is very depressing and quite scary. It is so clear this country needs a passionate, courageous, caring leader who tells the truth, and is grounded with integrity. We are so far from that right now. And when I listen to David Lammy, I really can't think of anyone in politics right now who would make a better Prime Minister. This is an amazing interview.

  7. I'm usually very much anti-Lammy, but this shows him in a whole new light. What a great set of interviews!

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