Book review – ‘Out of the Ashes – Britain After the Riots’ by David Lammy

Posted: January 29, 2012 in Reviews
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I for one raised an eyebrow when I discovered that Tottenham’s MP David Lammy had released a book about August’s riots,  only a couple of months after they had happened.  Some dismissed it as ‘shameless opportunism’.

In truth,  like Barack Obama’s ‘The Audacity Of Hope’, Lammy’s  ‘After the Riots’ is more part autobiography, part  personal political manifesto and explanation of our broken society rather than simply an explanation of the urban uprisings, though there is clearly much overlap.

In the immediate aftermath of the riots I was disappointed with his response in the media, condemning the violence like all the other MPs, and blaming the violence on non-Tottenham residents,  so in this book it is good to hear his views argued fully and cogently, rather than the soundbites of PMQ’s and Sky News that we usually hear from him.

He gives his opinions on reform of the tax system, immigration policy, the judicial system, and prison sentencing amongst other topics, and with so many good ideas I wonder why his own party leaders are not listening to him.

Lammy comes across well intentioned and full of good ideas in the book, with a good understanding of the problems of Britain’s struggling masses, both white and Black.  He highlights the policy mistakes of both the Conservatives and his own Labour party, which leads me to wonder why if successive governments (including his own) have been so unwilling or unable to improve the lives of his constituents,  he is still happy to be part of a system that patently isn’t working.

Lee Pinkerton

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