From time-to-time Richard Angell interviews senior politicians and interesting people

Finding one’s voice

Jermain Jackman: Finding one’s voice

This was first published in Progress magazine | Richard Angell and Ben Dilks The winner of The Voice on politics and pop ‘I’m still the same Jermain Jackman that you’ll see in McDonalds on a Friday afternoon getting my Big Mac meal,’ begins the winner of The Voice, before pausing to concede, ‘but it’s changed the life around me.’ The 18-year-old believes that winning the BBC’s singing competition in April ‘sent a message’ to other young people in his local community in Hackney, east London. ‘I’ve spoken to many young people, in Hackney especially, and they’ve turned their lives around because they saw how hard work has gotten me somewhere and it’s all become so real to them,’ he says. But there is nothing soft-headed about Jackman’s message. ‘Too often young people get given false hope,’ he says. ‘Politicians say, “Oh yeah, we’ll do this for young people” and then [the] EMA is scrapped, tuition fees trebled and we’re seeing youth clubs nationwide being shut down because of cuts.’ (more…)

Recapturing Carlisle

First published on Progressonline

Sound and fury rages again around the preponderance, or not, of Oxbridge-educated Labour party candidates. Much of the outrage bypasses a public only tangentially aware of this very Labour debate and its internal dance, but there remains a sense among the voters that more authentic, ‘real life’ parliamentarians are needed. And, if perception is truth, it should be the Labour party which is best placed to turn this situation around. (more…)

King maker

First published in Progress magazine

London mayoral hopeful Oona King reveals how she would wrest City Hall from Boris’s hands, why he is ‘useless’, the Big Society a ‘con’ and how she would help tackle reoffending.

When Oona King launched her campaign to become Labour’s candidate for the 2010 London mayoral election at her old school, Haverstock, she was surprised by the response of the 14-year-olds who had been forced to sit and listen to her talking about national politics. (more…)

‘Weapons out, everything else in’

First published on Progressonline

Today Tony Blair talked to Richard Angell from Progress about Israel’s decision to liberalise its policy on Gaza and his hopes for Middle East peace.

Always known for being an optimist, Tony Blair doesn’t miss the opportunity to launch into how the change in Israeli policy will make a difference to everyday Gazans. “It should mean that they can get ordinary foodstuffs and household items as a matter of course. There’s a permitted list at the moment which has only got about a hundred items on it. If you switch that to a prohibited list it means thousands of items go in. So it’s a big difference.” (more…)

We learn by history, we don’t live in it

First published in Progress magazine

Richard Angell talks to the former foreign secretary and Labour leadership contender about New Labour, ‘Next Labour’, and building a movement.

It’s the first weekend of David Miliband’s much-anticipated leadership campaign and the candidate is in buoyant mood. ‘I think the resilience of the Labour party, the determination of our voters to see through the money and the media that was being thrown at them, the power of real conversations that were happening in constituencies all around the country are encouraging and a source of pride to each of us’ says the former foreign secretary of this month’s general election results.

But Miliband is hardly sanguine about the scale of Labour’s losses on May 6: ‘It was a bad defeat and we lost more than 95 MPs. In the three southern regions of England we have got 12 MPs out of 209 MPs outside London. We were below 30 per cent of the vote and all this against a Conservative party that was fundamentally unconvincing and not particularly credible nor attractive to the voters.’ In short, he says, the party received ‘a kicking’ and there’s only one response to that: ‘The most important thing when you have been given a kicking, is to respect it, to feel it, recognise it and reflect on it.’ (more…)