Monday, August 08, 2011

David Lammy: More cloister than street

David Lammy, the Labour MP for Tottenham, wrote an article about the Tottenham riots in this morning's Guardian. In it he said:
I was 15 years old last time there was violent unrest on the scale witnessed in Tottenham over this weekend.
Before this violence Tottenham was a more hopeful place than it was in 1985.
I remember the fear and confusion that surrounded the Broadwater Farm riots, but above all I recall the sense of a community that felt forgotten and abandoned when the television cameras moved out.

All this, I am sure, is true. But what the article did not say was that David Lammy got his education, not in Tottenham, but at The King’s School Peterborough, having won an ILEA choral scholarship.

This is not a criticism of Lammy, but a recognition that for a poor, bright child from North London to get to Harvard and Parliament some deus ex machina of this sort is now likely to be necessary.

I once said in a column for the New Statesman website that Lammy was "more cloister than street". There were letters, but it is true.

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