Why Woolwich needs a David Lammy

This Mirror story made me smile…

A LABOUR MP has called on David Cameron and his millionaire ­ministers to do their Christmas ­shopping in ­Tottenham – to help boost trade after the ­riots.

David Lammy, MP for the North London borough since 2000, made his appeal in a speech to the ­Tottenham Traders Partnership.

Of the 29 ministers entitled to attend Cabinet meetings, 23 are believed to be worth more than £1million. Mr Lammy said: “This is a serious moment for Tottenham and it ­requires serious effort to get us out of here.”

Despite the hypocrisy of the local football club, which is still coveting the Olympic Stadium, there’s some impressive work going on in N17 to bring people’s confidence back to Tottenham. The I Love Tottenham campaign is an inspired way to help bring custom back to the area – getting local people involved, giving out bags and badges as well as putting up banners and flower baskets to deliver the message that this is a vibrant area that could have a bright future if everyone pulls together.

Yes, it helps to have the one of the country’s biggest football clubs on your doorstep, who can supply a much-loved name in Gary Mabbutt to lend a hand. But there’s clearly the will there to pull together and get the wider public involved, even if only by carrying an “I love Tottenham” bag.

I know a couple of people thought my comments on the Woolwich Back To Business week were a bit over the top – but nobody ever revived a district by barking orders at people, or trying to get them to believe in things that haven’t happened.

Tottenham’s been a battered-looking place for as long as I can remember, but Haringey Council’s campaign isn’t pretending things are brilliant – instead, it’s celebrating the people and putting its trust in them to sort things out.

This isn’t about the council getting the place “back to business”, it’s recognising that change can only come from the people. Because if they don’t buy into what you’re doing, you might as well give up.

Tottenham MP David Lammy, who joined Mr Mabbutt on a walk down the High Road to meet traders, said: “I love Tottenham’s vibrancy, its diversity and its sense of fun. We will rise again and I am proud to call Tottenham home.” (more)

In David Lammy, they are lucky enough to have a young (ish), articulate (very) champion for the area. You may not agree with his politics, and he does face some opposition locally, but there’s no doubting that he’s a brilliant advocate for an area he’s obviously passionate about.

If only local politicians in this area had his clout or passion. There’s so much in Woolwich to celebrate – and I suspect many of its residents know little about its history. Greenwich Council needs to let go and trust people, instead of trying to claim credit for everything. Woolwich desperately needs a David Lammy to beat the drum for it – someone who remembers that leading a community isn’t the same as telling it what to believe.


  1. I live in Haringey. If only there was somewhere to buy, I would shop there — I’m not including Tottenham Hale here. That’s just a strip mall filled with chains that don’t contribute to the local community.

  2. I agree with those who suggest that you reflect a biased approach to the issues following the riots. Just because we are not providing an hourly bulletin to 853 does not mean we are sitting on our hands. Why should our campaign be about we love Woolwich. Everyone knows how much it is loved by those who represent its interests including myself. The business community have responded in a very positive way. The regeneration of the area continues. Customers are flooding into the Woolwich Town Centre. We are quitely going about our business in investing our time to build support and confidence. Despite any negative comments from the bloggers we will overcome

  3. Hello Councillor Fahy – Cabinet Member of Culture
    I think you mean quietly as in ‘quietly taking my money’ or ‘quietly going about not cleaning my street’ or ‘quietly going about being party to the trashing of Greenwich Royal Park’ or ‘quietly going about not doing a damn thing about the traffic’ or ‘quietly going about associating yourself with any half arsed idea’.

  4. Dear Cllr Fahy,

    As a general memeber of the public, it gives me great pleasure to see your comment on this blog!

    Social media is an extremely effective tool in rapid communication and “updates” are now certainly part of main stream society, for better or for worse.

    Certainly Woolwich is coming on, new hotels, transport links, apartments and a soon to be finished town square.

    Alot of people were dismayed at the Woolwich wall being covered up however, a touch drastic perhaps. But otherwise it is great to hear that money has been provided up front to get business damaged by the riots back up and running again

    Looking forward to hearing more online.

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